Former US Representative, Texas
- Drops out of race 11/01/2019
- former U.S. representative from Texas
- born Sept. 26, 1972, in El Paso, Texas
- graduated Columbia University in 1995
- U.S. House 2013-2019
O’Rourke on impeachment:
“It has to transcend what is good or bad for the Democratic Party. This has to be about what is good for this country. If we don’t call this for what it is, if we’re not honest with ourselves and the American public, then we will have condoned this behavior, and we are complicit in the outcome, which is the loss of this democracy.” Source: NPR News
Candidate backs away from single-payer Medicaid for all, and instead, is backing Medicare for America. It would preserve job-based health insurance — but aims to let people keep their employer-sponsored insurance if they have it and like it.
The uninsured, people purchasing insurance in the Obamacare marketplaces, Medicaid beneficiaries, and newborns would automatically be enrolled into an improved Medicare program, which would continue to cover seniors as well.
He says he will appoint judges who support abortion rights and will repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.
After the shooting in El Paso, in which Latinos were targeted, O’Rourke denounced the divisive rhetoric of President Trump that he said inspired it, and came out in support of a mandatory federal buyback of assault-style weapons.
He says he also would want to see the Charleston loophole closed as well as the gun show loophole.
He also supports universal background checks, banning bump stocks, and restricting AR-15 sales, though he says he supports his state’s “proud and honorable tradition of responsible gun ownership for hunting, sport, self-defense, and collecting,” according to the Dallas News.
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,”
— O’Rourke said to huge cheers during the third Democratic presidential debate, Sept. 12, 2019.
Climate change will be Beto’s top priority as president.
The former congressman released a $5 trillion plan in late April that calls for the U.S. to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
He signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge and promised to return any relevant donations above $200.*
He would recommit the United States to the Paris climate agreement.
O’Rourke would reinstitute the Clean Power Plan, ensure higher standards for vehicle emissions, invest in wind and solar and other renewable energies, decrease dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.
*He took $550,000 from the oil industry during his Senate race against Ted Cruz. O’Rourke has been removed from a pledge he signed to reject large donations from fossil fuel PACs and executives after a Sludge investigation of federal campaign finance records. (12/18/18). He has since announced that he has returned donations from fossil fuel executives to his presidential campaign.*
Immigration/child-parent separation, detention and border wall
He would give legal status to undocumented immigrants in the US and grant citizenship to DREAMers “today.”
He wants to work with Mexico to track who comes into the country.
He is against the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
O’Rourke favors decriminalizing border crossings and only detaining individuals with criminal backgrounds.
He said the US should not criminalize migrants who request asylum between ports of entry.
The former representative supports initiatives to stabilize Central American countries.
He wants to end all funding for private, for-profit prison operators.
He supports increasing staffing at ports of entry to reduce wait times and to better detect illicit drugs.
He wants to allow children with parents in the U.S. to apply for refugee status from their home countries, increase the caps on several visas and add another category for refugees.
Economy/minimum wage/income inequality
O’Rourke has advocated for a $15 minimum wage, including eliminating lower wages for tipped workers and people with disabilities.
He endorses setting the top individual tax rate at 39% and the corporate tax rate at 28%.
“I know that the tax cuts from nearly two years ago of $2 trillion at a time that we had $21 trillion in debt, at a moment of extraordinary need across the country, was one of the most irresponsible things that the country has ever done.”
Education/student debt/free tuition
O’Rourke has opposed school vouchers and called for increasing aid to public schools in low-income areas, according to The Washington Post.
He also has supported focusing less on standardized testing and giving teachers more autonomy.
The former Texas congressman would alleviate student debt for public school teachers after 5 years of work. He does not support tuition-free public colleges but does support free community college.
He says he would commit to withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan before his first term ends.
The candidate also blasted President Trump for “leading the U.S. toward a trade war without any allies.”
O’Rourke said he backed the Iran nuclear deal.*
*”Without firing a single shot, without sacrificing the life of a single U.S. service member, it [the Iran nuclear deal] was able to stop the country of Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.”
O’Rourke calls for Congress to enact a “war tax” any time the country goes to war, with the proceeds going to care for veterans of the war. The tax would only be levied on households without military members or veterans.
O’Rourke wants the federal government to provide “Drug War Justice Grants” to people formerly incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses.*
He also proposed removing cannabis-related charges as grounds for deporting people or denying them citizenship.
The candidate would regulate marijuana much like alcohol, limiting the drug’s sale to adults and prohibiting smoking in public spaces.
*Legalizing marijuana isn’t enough. We also need to make sure those most impacted by the War on Drugs have a chance to benefit from this growing industry. Thanks to everyone at Equity First Alliance and Cage-Free Cannabis in L.A. for sharing their stories with me today. pic.twitter.com/BJDjNLr4gg
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 18, 2019
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